Giant Bomb Review

68 Comments

Mortal Kombat Review

5

The Vita version of Mortal Kombat hits just as hard as its console counterparts.

See, you can tell this is for the Vita version of the game because there's a hand model involved!

The Vita version of Mortal Kombat is the same fantastic and content-loaded fighting game that appeared on consoles about a year ago. But this portable version of the game actually has even more to do. The four characters released as downloadable add-ons for the original game are already present, and there are even more costumes to choose from. It's gone through a year of patches and balance changes, ensuring that the version of the game you're getting on day one for the Vita has been fight-tested and tournament approved. In short, if you're a Vita owner that's open to the idea of a fighting game, Mortal Kombat is an amazing value.

I'm not going to just rehash everything I said a year ago, but 95 percent of that old review still applies here. The single-player story mode is still astoundingly deep and the challenge tower is an exciting and maddening climb. Let's talk about the differences. The Vita version gets a new challenge tower that's largely built around the Vita's touch and shake features. It's a little silly, giving you an MK-themed take on Fruit Ninja, minigames where you tap rockets with your finger before they can reach your fighter, and so on. But it's a solid change of pace that, for the most part, handles the Vita's additional control options pretty well. In fights, you can use the touch screen to perform fatalities, if you like, and you can also unleash X-ray attacks by tapping your super meter when it's full.

If you start directly comparing the Vita version of Mortal Kombat to its console counterparts, you'll notice some cutbacks. While the frame rate is perfectly smooth during the fighting, that seems to come at the expense of some of the original game's character detail. When the game zooms in close for fatalities, win poses, or pre-fight talking (which happens all the time in the game's story mode), you'll notice that the character models look a little grungy and decidedly flatter than they did on consoles. That's obviously not the end of the world, and it's surely insane to expect a handheld to perfectly match a console, but hey, consider yourself aware of the difference. Some backgrounds look a little static, as well, but overall, it's a really nice-looking Vita game. Also, the game's online mode is limited to fights with one other player, so all the chat lobby and avatar-based spectator stuff from the other versions has been cut in favor of basic splits between ranked/unranked and one-on-one/tag battle. It appears to work just fine, though I had a few games drop out after character selection had been completed and it occasionally takes a little while to match up with a player and get a game going. Once you're connected, though, fighting and voice chat (which is on at all times once you're connected) work great.

Even if you're not near a Wi-Fi connection often enough to take advantage of the multiplayer side of Mortal Kombat, there's more than enough stuff for you to do by yourself to make it worth its $40 price tag. If you're at all warm to the idea of a portable fighting game, you should absolutely pick it up.

Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
68 Comments
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Edited by OllyOxenFree

Awesome! May pick it up whenever I grab a Vita.

Posted by Vinny_Says

I wish I was a hand model, my hands suck!!

Posted by Zacagawea

I really don't want to buy this game twice, but....that Vita over there is looking a little lonely...

Posted by adamfedoruk

Awesome. Love me my MK

Posted by nohthink

Oh wow... I thought Jeff would give 4 stars base on the podcast lol

Posted by TruthTellah

Woah. We need a Quick Look of this game stat! o_o

Posted by Napalm

It's a Mortal Kombat game, so it's already a five/five.

Posted by RE_Player1

Got it today and I agree.

Posted by BlatantNinja23

I just don't get the love this game is getting but hey.... happy the vita port is solid

Posted by MmaFanQc

@BlatantNinja23: its a good game, thats why.

Posted by Video_Game_King

I hate that I missed the H and T in "hits". (Yea, cheap joke, but whatever.)

Posted by KaneRobot

Glad this turned out ok. I was pretty iffy about it after seeing some of the gimmicky crap they piled on.

MK was my favorite game of last year though...if I ever bother to buy a Vita this will be a pick-up for sure.

Posted by Chim21

I want UMK3 costumes for the console version.

Posted by SSully

@BlatantNinja23 said:

I just don't get the love this game is getting but hey.... happy the vita port is solid

Its Mortal Kombat from last year, with more content, but slightly worse visuals. What is not to get?

Posted by Hailinel

Another Mortal Kombat, another five-star review from Jeff.

Posted by Animasta

shortest review?

Posted by RecSpec

I'm glad the port was great. Mortal Kombat was the top fighting game last year. 

Posted by LiquidSwords

@Animasta said:

shortest review?

He reviewed MK for the console. Don't need to rewrite what he's already said about it.

Edited by fox01313

Glad to see a good review on the Vita & loving the fact that MK is still a great franchise. While I don't have the vita, very tempted after reading this review to dive into MK story mode again on the 360.

Posted by TrashMustache

@SSully: he means he doesn't get the love this game is getting, what's not to get? there are other fighting games out there.

Posted by chilibean_3

Shocking! :)

Posted by Jimi

Good to know, I was a little sketchy on whether or not to pick this up from the trailers. Just bought it now after reading this.

Posted by SSully

@TrashMustache: I don't own a vita, but isn't the only decent fighter for the Vita Tekken or something? I don't get why he doesn't see the love for this because this is a great value. It's a great fighter with tons of content, if there is a fighter on the Vita that offers as much MK does then it would make sense, but I dont think there is one.

Edited by Korwin

Does the PSV version of Shao Kahn take more or less cheesing? These are the all important questions.

Posted by MarioBoza

I traded my copy of MK for the 360 for the Vita version. With best buys current promo of 50% + 10% members I got $19 for it. Never bought any of the dlc so this was a pretty good buy for $15 (i also had a $5 reward zone coupon). I am getting more then my moneys worth with this game. I am loving it all over again. If you have a Vita and like MK I recommend you get this game.

Posted by BlatantNinja23

@SSully said:

@TrashMustache: I don't own a vita, but isn't the only decent fighter for the Vita Tekken or something? I don't get why he doesn't see the love for this because this is a great value. It's a great fighter with tons of content, if there is a fighter on the Vita that offers as much MK does then it would make sense, but I dont think there is one.

I didn't get why people loved the game last year either. Whenever I played MK 9, it just made me wanna play 3 or 4 other fighters that were already out that I personally found far superior. Now with the Vita.. 2 of those fighters (BlazBlue and UMvC) also are out for it. But ya I'm not really focusing on the vita version. For the people that like this... great that it's a good port.

Posted by Korwin

On a less silly note, I think is great that this version turned out well. I think hand helds are a great space for fighting games which by nature are very pickup and play. I still maintain that the best Tekken game since Tekken 3 was the PSP version of Tekken 5. I played the crap out of that back when I worked in first level IT support, nothing like beating the snot out of someone for a round or 2 between phone calls to get the aggression out after dealing with the chuds.

Posted by Hazelhurst

I too was expecting a 4-star max review from Jeff. Color me surprised. I've been trying to buy this game on the Vita for the past four hours, but I keep getting the "the connection to the server has been lost (NP-2244-2) error". Man, I really want this. Why won't you take my money Sony?

Posted by M3rlin

All right! I will so get this for my subway rides!

Posted by csl316

I played the living hell out of MK last year, so I'll unfortunately have to pass.

But if you haven't played it, this is as good a place as ever to start!

Posted by gzl5000

Can someone other than Jeff review MK games from now on? I know GB reviews aren't intended to be objective, but there's a line there.

Posted by darkvare

my hands are pretty i could be a hand model

Posted by CJduke

@gzl5000 said:

Can someone other than Jeff review MK games from now on? I know GB reviews aren't intended to be objective, but there's a line there.

Why do you care that he gave this game 5 stars? Have you even played it?

Posted by Sanious

@BlatantNinja23: People like different stuff, go figure.

Posted by L44

Looks like I'm buying a Vita

Posted by gzl5000

@CJduke said:

Why do you care that he gave this game 5 stars? Have you even played it?

No I haven't, which means I have to rely on Jeff's review as an indication of quality. That being the case, I'm seeing a pattern: 3 MK games reviewed by Jeff on the site, 3 5-star reviews. Jeff's MK fanboyism is well known.

Call me cynical, but I find it hard to believe that this game is worth a 5 star recommendation and a $40 price tag given that Jeff nearly says outright that it's a complete rehash of MK9 with a few touchscreen elements thrown in. I find it hard to trust Jeff's review as someone not already enamored with the MK franchise, because he's so clearly in love with the series.

Posted by MrCaptain

Good choice to reduce graphic for framerate. I hate when ports don't do that.

Posted by samcotts

They should remove the comment section from reviews. Too many idiots on the site.

Posted by algertman

This game looks like ass on the Vita.

Posted by Fuga

@gzl5000 said:

@CJduke said:

Why do you care that he gave this game 5 stars? Have you even played it?

No I haven't, which means I have to rely on Jeff's review as an indication of quality. That being the case, I'm seeing a pattern: 3 MK games reviewed by Jeff on the site, 3 5-star reviews. Jeff's MK fanboyism is well known.

Call me cynical, but I find it hard to believe that this game is worth a 5 star recommendation and a $40 price tag given that Jeff nearly says outright that it's a complete rehash of MK9 with a few touchscreen elements thrown in. I find it hard to trust Jeff's review as someone not already enamored with the MK franchise, because he's so clearly in love with the series.

No

Posted by aseddon130

i still don't know whether to get this, i need to finish the console version first!

But i would like a new Vita game, this will probably be it.

Posted by Tsai

Already have this game on pre-order.. now Jeff's made the waiting part even more difficult.. great, thanks

Posted by algertman
Posted by bearshamanbro

This review makes sense. MK was far from my favorite fighting game released in the last year (on a fighting engine level), but you can't argue that the game is a really solid package. The single player content really outdistances everything else on the market, and IMO shows the way for fighting games to continue to bring in new players. Add in all the extras for this version at a low price and the high score is a no-brainer. The screenshots I've seen for this do not look good though and the Vita should be capable of so much more. The still screens almost look like a PSP game. With that said I've heard in motion that the graphics are not a problem.

Edited by hershelgeorgelives

Meh, still don't care.

Also, this game looks like it could run on a 3DS, no problem.

Posted by Bestostero

i wished i had a vita to get this game :(

Posted by probablytuna

Damn the Australian rating board!

Edited by Maginnovision

@algertman: I'd say that link shows how little people care about gameplay and only focus on graphics.

You'll also notice both versions of rayman origins got 5 stars.

Posted by onan

The way GB's system treats ports onto various consoles, is this effectively the first time they've reviewed the same game twice? Seems that way.

Posted by ShuaReborn

I loved the console version and have bought all the DLC. I almost want to get this just to show more support for the devs and the platform, and so we keep getting more games. I'm just worried I won't really play it much because I've already put so many hours into the console skew.

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